Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Leaning On The Everlasting Arms During Christmas 2016

Our family had a blessed Christmas.  We enjoyed just being together.  Gifts were exchanged with more time being given to the ones that were put together with a personal touch, such as the calendars that Emily had made for the second year in a row.  Of course, she kind of had to.  We requested them.  Not that we don't enjoy the free calendars distributed by local merchants but nothing can compare to family photos.  2016, it turns out, was a rather significant year in the life of our family.  While we have all felt we were holding our breath this year it seems that really good stuff still happened.  Chelsea and Chadd were married, there was continued growth in careers for several in our midst, I survived a horrible illness that lasted most of the summer and we are eagerly anticipating the birth of Chelsea and Chadd's baby next Summer.

As we got closer to Christmas day I noticed the elf hat on a shelf in the garage.  One cannot do Christmas Day without the Elf Hat.  And so we grabbed it on the way out the door to Grandma Ruth's house where everyone gathered.  Mikey is our usual elf.  This year he had a mini me.  Well, at least as far as the elf ears were concerned.

Molly made the rounds.  She was on every one of the kids laps (except Chelsea's) as the morning went on.  Bandit enjoyed coming to Grandma's house too.  But she isn't quite as welcome on laps as Molly.  Nor does she tend to stay long if welcomed.

Chelsea and Chadd had purchased some treats at Central Market 
the day before.  On Christmas Eve Molly had eaten one and come
back for more but they wisely made her wait until Christmas Day for another.
It was time....

My "biggest" gift?  A new mailbox!  Our current "barn" mailbox is falling apart.  Mom got us a new one that will actually hold small boxes that currently have me running to the post office nearly daily.
During Spring and Fall I will be able to just pop them in the box and put the flag up and off they will go.  How sweet that will be!  Winter and Summer I won't do that because candles are so sensitive to extreme temperatures.

This year was a clothing year for Jonathan.  In a big way.  Poor guy.  Next year we will try to go back to fun stuff.  Chelsea and Chadd mostly got home decor and a few fun things on their list.  I gave Chadd a package of frozen summer sausage made in York.  It is something our family introduced him to that he loves.

I found some neat headbands for Emily that she seemed to like.  Mikey had asked for an accessory for his gun which was given from all of the parents and grandmoms.

All in all it didn't feel like an "over the top" Christmas....it was better than that.  Cozy, together, meaningful and sweet.  Christmas dinner was Roast and Ham with the trimmings.  Yum!  We had to meet up again later that evening to enjoy the apple and cherry pies that mom had made.  There was no room in our tummies immediately after dinner.

During the break in the late afternoon Warren and I had gone to the Harrisburg International Airport to pick up Pastor Mike and Jenny on their return from China.  What a trip they had.  Of course, Jenny was there for a less than wonderful reason as her father was dying when she arrived and had been buried when she returned.  We were so very thankful that Pastor Mike was able to get there before her father passed and then was able to spend time in Jenny's home country for a few weeks.  We missed them here, of course, but this was so important.  As they had been awake for a very, very long time Jenny slept on the way home but Mike shared much about their experiences.  We are looking forward to seeing more photos and hearing more.  But as for that day we were grateful for warmer temperatures and no precipitation.  There is nothing quite like going to an airport in a snowstorm to make you not want to repeat the experience.

And so you can see that we had a special Christmas Day.  I'll leave you with the reading with which we closed out our gift exchange time.   It comes from "The Singer" by Calvin Miller.  My Dad used to read this aloud to our family and so the words were familiar and poignant.  Mom read it this time.

“The Father and his Troubadour sat down Upon the outer rim of space. "And here, My Singer," said Earthmaker, "is the crown Of all my endless skies-the green, brown sphere Of all my hopes." He reached and took the round New planet down, and held it to his ear.
"They're crying, Troubadour," he said. "They cry So hopelessly." He gave the little ball Unto his Son, who also held it by His ear. "Year after weary year they all Keep crying. They seem born to weep then die. Our new man taught them crying in the Fall.
"It is a peaceless globe. Some are sincere In desperate desire to see her freed Of her absurdity. But war is here. Men die in conflict, bathed in blood and greed."
Then with his nail he scraped the atmosphere And both of them beheld the planet bleed.
Earthmaker set earth spinning on its way And said, "Give me your vast infinity My son; I'll wrap it in a bit of clay. Then enter Terra microscopically To love the little souls who weep away Their lives." "I will," I said, "set Terra free."
And then I fell asleep and all awareness fled. I felt my very being shrinking down. My vastness ebbed away. In dwindling dread, All size decayed. The universe around Drew back. I woke upon a tiny bed Of straw in one of Terra's smaller towns.
And now the great reduction has begun: Earthmaker and his Troubadour are one. And here's the new redeeming melody--The only song that can set Terra free."

― Calvin MillerThe Singer: A Classic Retelling of Cosmic Conflict

How thankful we are that ONE so mighty would become one so small and grow to give his ALL for us.  To change our fate from one of destruction to one of LIFE and HOPE.  May we be reminded of this important piece to this human life we live.


Theresa said...

What a wonderful, warm and cozy feeling Christmas! I pray that the rest of this year and the next will bring happiness and good health for ALL of your family! BIG HUGS!

Linda Gross said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas. Best wishes for a good rest of the year and a wonderful 2017.

Vee said...

A sweet Christmas of being together is better than any loud, raucous day filled with gaudy gifts. Praying for you folks and trusting in God's provision for you all in the coming year.